How much does it cost to buy safety?
Nothing a woman says is ever enough in this manmade world, and yet, something needs to be said (and done).
I am 31 years old, I have worked in ten different places since my graduation in 2008. Five years ago when I took to entrepreneurship, I realised my life had one common thread that would never leave me alone, not in the past, not ever.
Being a salaried employee or being the boss makes zero difference to your life, if you are a woman — you WILL be harassed.
I could quote the many instances when men humiliated me, women too, who made me cry in the washroom for they never understood it could be them in my place some day. Men have given me the hardest time at workplace for many reasons, but all of them was because they thought they could get away with it because I am ‘just a woman.’
So what is harassment though? “Can’t a man like a gal at work?” — sure, you can, and so can a woman. “So what’s the big deal if I express my interest to her?” Well, let’s see — did you do so in a way that she did not reciprocate it? “LOL, yeah, but she is enjoying all the attention I am giving her, soon she is going to give in — girls like to play hard to get.” Sure, sure — cos women like men who think out of their ass, and talk like what comes out of it.
NO, WOMEN DON’T LIKE TO PLAY HARD TO GET — WOMEN ARE SCARED YOUR ENTITLEMENT MIGHT PUT THEM IN DANGER, THEY ARE PLAYING “HARD TO GIVE A FUCK!”
“Whoa! whoa! Calm your tits, bitch — it’s not like you or she is good looking anyway — you must be glad I am throwing some bones at ya!”
Relatable? Been there, said/heard it? Now, I am aware that this is not how every workplace is, I really do. And I know it because some are worse. In some workplaces, women get raped, and for complaining about being raped, fired from their jobs too. You must be thinking: “Wait, come on, don’t you go on exaggerating just because you are a man hater! I am not like that, and so many men I know respect women too, don’t generalise.”
So it seems to me that being a decent human being who does not rape a woman makes you feel like you deserve an award, right? RIGHT?
And then comes another conundrum — what is this “workplace?”
Is it Tidel Park? Is it Mahindra City? What about your own house? How about CCD down the road? What about the road itself?
What if I tell you, Indian government has declared all of the above to be workplaces in an Act in 2013? No, really it has — and it is awesome that such an Act exists albeit powerless (more on that later). The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 has a very clear definition of a workplace.
Any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment, including transportation provided by the employer for undertaking such a journey.
So will Kaveri aunty who comes to do chores at our house on a monthly salary, call our house her “workplace?” DAMN RIGHT SHE WILL!
It includes all women whether engaged directly or through an agent including a contractor, with or without the knowledge of the principal employer. They may be working for remuneration, on a voluntary basis or otherwise. Their terms of employment can be express or implied. Further, she could be a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice, or called by any other such name. The Act also covers a woman, who is working in a dwelling place or house.
Ever since I have been aware, I remember being abused by many many many men, and in almost all the occasions, the patriarchal society has gaslighted me into believing that I will never win, and that it was always my fault. How can it be my fault if somebody masturbated at me? How can it be fault if a male colleague passes a comment about how I must shop for an XXL? And please, please tell me this: how can it be my fault that I have breast and a vagina? That seems to be the root-cause for every single abuse that has come my way, and a man’s entitlement to not stop even if hurts me, because it gives him pleasure? So I got thinking, and in December last year I decided to work on this overbearing helpless feeling.
I AM MAKING A DOCUMENTARY ON WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT — IT IS GOING TO BE HISTORIC. I AM FUCKING SURE ABOUT IT.
This is not just a film about harassment where we dwell on the obvious alone, but it is a lot more than that — it will critically examine the nature of workplace sexual harassment by speaking to both the lawmakers as well as the people for whom such laws are made. What constitutes a workplace? What happens if the harasser is your employer? What are the policies and rights of women, and how are the governing bodies responding? What happens to women who get harassed on the basis of their age, lifestyle or sexual orientation? Is it harassment if it is not sexual? What about people with disability?
In a world where sex sells, talking about woman’s rights fall in to an abyss with zero receivers. I should know because I have been banned, blocked and yelled at by some folks ever since I started research on this film and put it out for crowdfunding. And tragically, a LOT of instances where women have been harassed/abused/murdered have happened since too. “LOLOL, a man hater is making a film about how women are “so innocent”, feminazi alert!!”
Sigh, imagine having to meet your abuser everyday, where despite the complaint, he has not been fired and you are abused more. Ever heard of KPS Gill, Phaneesh Murthy, Gopal Kanda, Tarun Tejpal, Binoy Jacob, Amal Vishnudas, Lingeswara Thilagam? No? “LOLOLOL, but it takes two hands to clap? The women lead him on, do you even know what she was wearing that day or how much she has had to drink?”
There have been instances in the past when a film was made by a mere ONE RUPEE donated by a large group of people. ONE RUPEE!! That doesn’t seem like a lot to part, does it? Of course you can part with a lot more, but I am happy with just a buck from your office of say 10,000 people.
You figure the math, don’t you?
Funding a film is not always about how much can you contribute, quite the opposite actually. It is about how MANY people can contribute, how much ever they can.
Those who know me, know that I am not making films because I want to buy a Mercedes — not even close — I am happy with my 9 year old Activa. I am quite tired now, and have been for a few weeks since I started raising funds. Especially when I see that money is being spent on shows that further degrade women. Not that it is any of my business, but is it not? Is it not yours too?
Quite simply, I need money to make this film, and I need to make sure I reach a lot of people at the same time with my campaign. I need your help with that — would you do that for me?
There are some secondary level awesome things with this project too — I have managed to pull off an all-woman leadership crew, and we have a Hollywood music composer helming the music department, YES!!! Miriam has been in projects like Saving Private Ryan & more. Isn’t that awesome :)
A lot of women have come forward to speak about their experience from a wide variety of industries/line of work — not just corporate. Truth be told, getting these women to speak in the film has been rather easier than raising funds — and now that all of us have formed this squad, it is a shame that these stories may not see the light.
I am not deluded into believing that this film will directly result in zero crimes against women, and neither should you. My film is my expression of angst, a means to bring to light the violent crimes against women — not a man hating, feminazi achievement to propagate misandry, but if you think it would be, the film is about you too.
So tell me, how much does it cost to buy safety?
Fundraiser link: https://igg.me/at/BWWSW/x/10333550
I understand not everybody can donate money, this is in no way to imply any kind of compulsion — but if you can understand the importance of workplace harassment, please do help me gather a group of people to donate or help get the word out. I think it is your film as much as it is mine.